Concussion suit: NCAA athletes file suit and seek class action

Football fan, “Theresa Owens blurted in the stands, They just killed him!”[i] Derek Owens, injured playing football for the University of Central Arkansas, seeks damages against the NCAA for failure to prevent brain trauma. Along with Owens, co-plaintiff Alex Rucks, the Northwestern University offensive lineman joins the suit also complaining of post-traumatic brain injury (“TBI”)/concussion injuries.

 Two former college football players launched a putative class action in Illinois federal court accusing the NCAA of negligence and carelessness in failing to take the appropriate steps to protect student-athletes from debilitating head injuries.

Two former college football players launched a putative class action in Illinois federal court accusing the NCAA of negligence and carelessness in failing to take the appropriate steps to protect student-athletes from debilitating head injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries can occur in professional sports and on the local playground.

This suit is one of many that plaintiff athletes are filing these days. The word is getting around that many college and professional athletics and players associations are under fire for not preventing injuries and adequately warning players of safety concerns and traumatic brain injury. For example, many suggest a helmet can protect the skull, but not the brain.

Many parents and school officials should continue paying attention to the unfortunate examples of preventable traumatic brain injuries. When Billy from down the block is hit in the helmet during a little league game and is told to brush it off and take the base, Billy’s parents should be concerned. Examples like this are too common: Billy seemed just fine until a few days later when he started experiencing motor function problems and other TBI symptoms!

What do the doctors know about traumatic brain injury?

The communities of physicians who study and treat brain injury patients often concur that: As soon as they feel prepared to address traumatic brain injuries, more data and research becomes available. One of the problems with diagnosis and prevention of future concussions is the wide variance in symptoms experienced and reported by athletes with concussions. Also, many of the tests of cognitive functioning rely on the accuracy of the victims who report details of their conditions to their treating or team physicians.

Plaintiffs’ complaint states: “The NCAA knew or should have known that its actions or its inaction in light of the rate and extent of concussions reported and made known to the NCAA would cause harm to players in both the short- and long-term.” Further, “The NCAA’s conduct is particularly egregious in light of the fact that its policies and procedures – or lack thereof – leave student-athletes like plaintiffs and members of the [proposed] class inadequately protected from sustaining, monitoring and recovering [from] brain injuries at a particularly early and vulnerable point in their lives.”[ii]

Michael V. Favia & Associates regularly works with clients in the Chicago area who are unfortunately affected by personal injuries, some attributable to brain trauma. If you want to learn more about concussion-type injuries, please call Michael V. Favia & Associates by dialing 773-631-4580 or stop in to make an appointment at one of our convenient locations. Visit Michael V. Favia & Associates’ website for more information. You can also learn more by visiting the firm’s social media pages. “Follow” them on Twitter and “Like” them on Facebook today!


[i] New York Times, November 29, 2011 by George Vecsey, College Athletes Move Concussions Into the Courtroom

[ii] Plaintiff’s complaint cited in Law360, November 29, 2011 by Allison Grande, NCAA Failed To Protect Players From Concussions: Suit

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